MONTREAL — A Muslim businessman in Canada became a terror suspect for telling his sales staff in a text message to “blow away” the competition at a New York City trade show, a religious association said Friday.
Moroccan-born Saad Allami, who works as a telecommunications company sales manager, was arrested three days after he sent the message in January 2011 and detained while police searched his home, said the Muslim Council of Montreal.
“The whole time, the officers kept repeating to the plaintiff’s wife that her husband was a terrorist,” said court filings in a lawsuit filed by Allami, cited by local media. Allami was released after four hours of questioning.
Some of his colleagues reportedly claimed they were also held for hours at the Canada-US border on account of the accusations made against their boss.
“Mr Allami’s statements, when considered in the context of which they were given, were nothing to draw such alarm or suspicion,” said Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal.
“It is clear that his arrest was the result of racial profiling and a knee-jerk reaction to label him as a terror suspect simply due to his religious background.”
Allami is seeking Can$100,000 ($100,603) from Quebec’s provincial police, a police sergeant and the justice department for unlawful detention, unlawful arrest, loss of income and damage to his reputation.
The Quebec Superior Court is to hear the case on March 5.